Accountant and entrepreneur Liezl Berry conducted an audit into whether accounting really is the most boring profession.
I recently asked a group of bright high school students what they were considering studying after school. Three fifths said they would choose accounting as they believe it pays well, but they fear that it is the most boring profession. When you ask students or people in business about their perception of accountants, you will get the same response:
“They are a boring bunch.”
Accountants are seen as someone sitting at a desk, going through boring books of accounts and financial statements and doing calculations while wearing grey.
I was equally curious and concerned about the reasons we have been labelled as dull, so I decided to conduct an audit to evaluate the validity and reliability of this statement.
Firstly I found a study from the City University of Hong Kong that stated the "dull and uninspired, jargon-heavy language” accountants use is partly responsible for this image.
Then I tried Google and typed in “Why are accountants..”
- so boring
- so miserable
- so arrogant
I interviewed a few financial managers and asked if they thought their profession was boring. The reply I received was:
“My work is exciting and fascinating, and I love it.”
Other procedures I completed in my audit included inquiry, observation, inspection and some analytical reviews of certain aspects of accountants’ careers and personal lives summarised below:
My investigation revealed that an accountants’ favourite colour is confirmed as 50 shades of grey.
I interviewed some people in relationships with accountants and can confirm that accountants are the best lovers. We are ethical, we have job security and we are the champions of balance. We are good with numbers and money and we have really good communication skills.
It turns out that we also have more sex than other professional workers, according to a report by the Daily Telegraph. The report concluded that accountants are more likely to socialise, they watch less television and enjoy more sex than any other profession. They had sex an average of six times in a fortnight, compared with the average of three, and most accountants also played some kind of sport.
The role of the accountant is evolving and moving far beyond financial support. Accountants also remain the most trusted source for business advice and the first port of call for most businesses.
We also have our vices, some of which include coffee, swearing and alcohol.
Being the most popular go-to person in business takes its toll and many accountants agreed with the statement that they “probably drink too much” and “rewarded” themselves with an alcoholic beverage at the end of the day.
Accountants are at a high risk of developing alcohol problems because of the very demanding environments in which they work according to a psychologist who specialises in helping accountants with alcoholism. The nature of the work is inherently stressful and this is compounded by stress triggers like meeting deadlines and managing major clients and staff.
Another observation I made was email addiction. Many accountants are practically addicted to email, regularly checking work email on their off-hours and feeling burnt-out from it. I calculated that accountants work on average 10 hours more per week than GPs due to this need to continuously check and respond to emails.
I found many famous musicians have a starting point in accounting. Kenny G, world-famous smooth jazz saxophonist and best-selling modern instrumental musician studied accounting at the University of Washington, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Mick Jagger attended the London School of Economics to study accounting and finance before pursuing rock ‘n roll.
Accountants love to have a good time and, in the words of Dolores O'Riordan, they truly have amazing minds, they are understanding and so kind and really do mean everything to the economy.
The bottom line
In my opinion, the statement referred to above, that accountants are “a boring bunch” is materially misstated. There is evidence that their technical language is difficult for others to comprehend, but there is also clear and convincing evidence that accountancy is, in fact, the new rock ‘n roll!